Retail Sales Grew 0.6% in December

Retail sales grew 0.6% in December, according to Census Bureau data.

Nine of the 13 categories highlighted in the release saw increases from a month ago.

Sales for clothing and clothing accessories, as well as non-store retailers, increased 1.5%. Meanwhile, sales at health and personal stores care dipped 1.4%, while sales at gasoline stations fell 1.3%.

For the full year, retail sales excluding auto and gas increased 4.9%. Sales at food services and drinking places rose 11.3% for the year, pacing the gains, while spending at gasoline stations declined 11.5% as gasoline prices dipped lower throughout 2023.

“Retail sales beat expectations yet again in December,” Nationwide Financial Markets economist Oren Klachkin wrote in a research note on Wednesday. “Consumers were willing to spend during the holidays and will remain inclined to do so as long as real income gains more than offset the drag from elevated interest rates and tight lending standards.